Being a student of Literature, and especially one who was interested in British Literature, London was the city of my dreams. Nothing amazes me even today like the city of London does.
One of the biggest influences of reading British Literature is that you happen to be very well acquainted with the sights, sounds and streets of London. Be it a work like Pygmalion, by Bernard Shaw, or any other contemporary work, London exudes charm. London has been so beautifully described, that the reader has a mental picture of city.
There are several ways to reach London. You could fly into one of its three airports: Heathrow, Gatwick or The London Luton airport. Or you could drive in from the other parts of Europe. But I chose to enter the city of my dreams, by ferry. I started my onward journey to London, from Amsterdam in a ferry. It is an overnight journey.
There are many easily accessible hotels spread throughout the city. I stayed at the Holiday Inn, a little on the outskirts of London, in the town of Milton Keynes.
Travelling in London is truly a pleasure, not on the roads, but the fascinating underground is fascinating. To visit the various attractions that London holds for dreamers like me, all one needs is a map of the London tube network. The London tube is a fantastic and fast way of travelling throughout the city. If you’re planning to stay for a longer while, say a fortnight or a month, getting a pass will work out to be very economical.
When one talks about London, the first thing that comes to one’s mind is the Bridge of London. Though the original London Bridge is a plain stone bridge, the bridge that most of the people assume to be the London Bridge is called the Tower Bridge. We might have all seen very many pictures of this bridge, right from our childhood till date, but being actually present there, and seeing it in person, is a helluva experience. It’s a breathtaking monument.
The next must see in the city is the London eye. Though you could see the same in Malaysia too, the skyline of London adds a certain charm and beauty to the eye. Once you’re on board the eye, it takes half-an hour to get done with the ride. At the very top, you can see the bird’s eye view of the city. The old buildings of England, from before the war, the tower of London, the British parliament house, the Big Ben, the Buckingham palac… all exhibit the beautiful architecture of the past of the city. Buildings like the capsule, the eye, and O2 show us the present. It is an experience which surely surpasses words.
Madame Tussauds is a different world altogether. Though there are others in various parts of Europe, the one in London is the biggest and the best. It transports you to the various famous, noteworthy faces of the world. It is an absolutely unique experience. I had a lot of fun, and enjoyed myself thoroughly. I must have clicked more than a thousand photographs just at this wax museum.
The Buckingham Palace, and the Trafalgar Square, exudes such royalty that even one who has not heard of their existence would know that this is the abode of royalty.
There are several more must visits in the city, like the Westminster Abbey, where the likes of Newton, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, William Blake, Lord Byron and P.B.Shelley are laid to rest. There is also a naval museum, at the end of the Tower Bridge. We can even walk into the Tower Bridge to see how it works. The Swami Narayan Temple is also very serene and calm. Once you enter the temple, you would completely forget that you’re in London. It transports you back to your native Indian soil.
To me it is a Phoenix, even after being burnt to the ground; it still rose, and got back onto its feet, to be one of the best cities in the world. A city where the past and present meet.
N. Trikala Satya
[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ccsharry/2362294897/]